- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
His seminar is from 4:10 to 5 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall. His host is Professor Jay Rosenheim, his former major professor. (Editor's note: This is a time change due to midwest storms delaying his flight)
An abstract of Heimpel's talk:
"Over the past 25 years or so, importation ('classical') biological control of arthropod pests has undergone a paradigm shift in which emphasis has shifted from an exclusive focus on efficacy to a focus on the actual and potential risks of biological control introductions. Host specificity testing is the cornerstone of risk assessment in this new paradigm, and only highly specialized agents are currently approved for release."
"Here, I describe the process of importation biological control of an invasive agricultural pest in the North-Central U.S. - the Asian soybean aphid. Numerous parasitoid species were imported from Asia as potential biological control agents and I focus on 5 species for which host-specificity testing was done. Each of these five species tells a different story in terms of host-specificity, the potential for biological control efficacy, and actual success of field releases. Together, these case studies illustrate some potential relationships between safety and efficacy in biological control, and the importance of various traits in mediating safety and efficacy of biological control agents."
Born in Germany, Heimpel grew up mainly in California. He received his bachelor’s degree in conservation and resource studies in 1988 from UC Berkeley; his master's degree in 1991 in entomology and applied ecology from the University of Delaware; and his doctorate in 1995 from UC Davis, where he was advised by Jay Rosenheim. Heimpel then spent two years as a USDA post-doctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin in Mike Strand’s lab.
At the University of Minnesota, Heimpel focuses his research in the fields of biological control and parasitoid ecology. Most of this work has been done in agricultural settings, and has included investigations of sugar-feeding by parasitoids in the field and implications for conservation biological control, biological control of soybean aphid and genetics of sex determination in parasitic hymenoptera. More recent projects have incorporated a conservation focus however, including investigations of an invasive fly species in the Galapagos Islands. Heimpel teaches biological control and insect behavior.
On his website, Heimpel says: “Most of the projects in my lab focus on host-parasitoid interactions and biological control. Investigations range from genetics to community ecology with an emphasis on behavioral, population and evolutionary ecology of parasitoids within the context of biological control. Current projects include classical and conservation biological control of the soybean aphid in the United States, classical biological control of a parasite of Darwin’s finches in the Galapagos Islands, and classical biological control of the imported cabbageworm in the United States.”
“More generally, interests in the lab focus on aspects of host specificity in parasitoids, indirect interactions in natural and agricultural systems, sex determination in parasitoid wasps, evolution of parasitoid reproductive strategies, and ecosystem services (biological control) associated with biofuel cropping systems.”
Plans call for the seminar to be recorded for later posting on UCTV. Coordinating the fall seminars are assistant professors Brian Johnson and Joanna Chiu.
Heimpel's recent publications include:
Hopper, K. R., S. M. Prager, and G. E. Heimpel. 2013. Is parasitoid acceptance of different host species dynamic? Functional Ecology 27:1201-1211.
Heimpel, G. E., Y. Yang, J. Hill, and D. W. Ragsdale. 2013. Environmental consequences of invasive species: greenhouse gas emissions of insecticide use and the role of biological control in reducing emissions. PLoS One 8:e72293.
Wulff, J. A., K. Buckman, K. Wu, G. E. Heimpel, and J. A. White. 2013. The endosymbiont Arsenophonus is widespread in soybean aphid, Aphis glycines, but does not provide protection against parasitoids or a fungal pathogen. PLoS One 8:e62145.
Chacon, J. M., M. K. Asplen, and G. E. Heimpel. 2012. Combined effects of host-plant resistance and intraguild predation on the soybean aphid parasitoid Binodoxys communis in the field. Biological Control 60:16-25.
de Boer, J. G., B. Kuijper, G. E. Heimpel, and L. W. Beukeboom. 2012. Sex determination meltdown upon biological control introduction of the parasitoid Cotesia rubecula? Evolutionary Applications 5:444-454.
Desneux, N., R. Blahnik, C. J. Delebeque, and G. E. Heimpel. 2012. Host phylogeny and specialisation in parasitoids. Ecology Letters 15:453-460.